We have come to recognise a fact—the importance of our wetlands, their current state, and what needs to be done to look after the remaining 10% of WA’s once thriving wetlands—is a topic that is vague, if not wholly unimportant to the general public. With climate change looming large, urgent action is needed at state and national levels to raise awareness about our wetlands and their importance, putting in place greater safeguards for their restoration and survival and ensuring their inclusion and protection in developmental plans. This needs to be common knowledge and accessible to each and every one.
Besides their intrinsic value, wetlands are intertwined with our history and cultural heritage. They influenced the way of life on this land and carry stories of the generations that moved through them. We stand to make huge strides by including traditional Aboriginal knowledge of wetlands in our endeavours, while also bearing the risk of losing these learned experiences of living in harmony with nature over thousands of years, should we choose not to listen.
With this renewed outlook, we set ourselves a lofty goal for the 2022 WA Wetlands Conference—to increase our footprint and engage with concerned stakeholders beyond wetland practitioners: Academics, educators, university students, Aboriginal elders, environmentalists, politicians and community leaders. Despite the looming threat of the pandemic, the conference not only prevailed but was successful beyond our best expectations under the circumstances.
This year we are poised to facilitate an even better conference, with bigger objectives and more significant outcomes. We want to increase our outreach and broaden our networks. Therefore, we have invited another important stakeholder–artists and the humanities sector—to partner with us to facilitate the fifth session, and ramp up our conference to a third day.
Towards this, we would like to cordially invite you to be a part of this important event that empowers every one of us to become stewards of the most valuable ecosystems on earth—our wetlands. To learn more, share expertise, applaud achievements, address issues, drive action, commit to change, raise standards, and create worthier goals. To celebrate World Wetlands Day with us. And above all to be a voice for every living creature that depends on the survival of our wetlands, and our interdependent future.